The Oscars is the glitziest show in town, and true to form, it has not let the pandemic dampen its magic. Despite being postponed, the Academy Awards were in full swing on Sunday night.

On 15 March, this year’s nominees were announced. Being a massive film nerd I took a gander. 

They say experience comes with age, but within the cutthroat world of Hollywood, this concept is more difficult to navigate. After all, this is the industry that immortalises stars, creating a breeding ground for insecurity.

Enter Oscars 2021, which was refreshingly surprising for more than its nod to acknowledging diversity amongst the writers, directors and actors. No, this year’s Oscars had one unmistakable quality; its homage to veteran actors. From the nominees to the winners, the older generation of acting talent was palpably dominant. 

And the winners are … (3 of the 4 top awards went to the over-sixties)

Best Actor

Anthony Hopkins, 83 for The Father

Best Actress

Frances McDormand, 63 for Nomadland

Best Supporting Actress

Youn Yuh-Jung, 73 for Minari

Anthony Hopkins’ 2nd Oscar at 83

Sir Anthony Hopkins has become the oldest winner in the Best Actor category. He was recognised for his masterful performance as a man suffering from dementia. The Father is a heart-breaking tale of love, family and illness.

Hopkins was a surprise winner. The award was tipped to go to the late Chadwick Boseman who died in August from cancer. Boseman was nominated for his last performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Hopkins accepted the award from his homeland of Wales, saying:

‘At 83 years of age I did not expect to get this award, I really didn’t. I’m very grateful to the Academy and thank you’.

He went on to pay a touching tribute to Boseman. The Father also picked up a win for Best-Adapted Screenplay. The film’s star commented on the quality of the script, saying that it was ‘so good and so clearly written’. The Father will be released in the UK on 11 June.

Sir Anthony Hopkin’s is definitely not thinking of retirement. According to IMDb, he has five more projects in the pipeline! But what can we learn from this Welsh tour de force? 

The celebrated actor put his success down to his ability to memorise lines. Hopkins is known to read scripts hundreds of times. In doing so, he is able to remember not only the words but the intricate details within the dialogue. 

He once said:

I learn the text so deeply that I think it has some chemical effect in my brain. I believe in learning the text which is there. Once you know it so well that you can improvise and make it real, it’s easy’

Hopkins enjoys keeping his brain active and in turn, this keeps him young. The practice of thoroughly learning his lines enables him to relax and deliver a more natural performance, along with his trademark intensity. 

A look behind the camera

It’s encouraging to see that off-screen, mature directors and screenwriters are still a force to be reckoned with. Aaron Sorkin is just one example. He was a lead contender to win Best Picture for The Trial of the Chicago 7. The film tells the story of a group of anti-Vietnam war protestors charged with conspiracy and inciting riots. With one Oscar and three nominations, the 59-year-old is at his prime.

The Legacy Award

The Honorary Award recognises a lifetime of achievement and contribution to motion picture arts, sciences, and outstanding service to the Academy. It is a discretionary award, offered by the Board of Governors but not always awarded as a statuette or given at the ceremony. On occasion, it is given to honour a filmmaker, for whom there is no applicable category. This latest recipient was Italian screenwriter Lina Wertmuller. In 2019, the 92-year-old won for her outstanding contribution. Bravo!

The End

Ageing is life’s inevitable roadmaps. They say experience comes with age, so let’s see what we can learn from the older generation. Some of my favourite films and T.V. shows star the likes of Celia Imrie and Jane Fonda. And I can tell you something — they’ve still got it!